Review: ‘The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice’, by Christopher Hitchens

The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and PracticeThe Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice by Christopher Hitchens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Christopher Hitchens has arguably (no pun intended!) done more slaughtering of sacred cows than any journalist or polemicist in recent memory. This book is no disappointment and is a testament to the danger of the kind of zeitgeist-wide acceptance certain cultural figures have been privilege too without, seemingly, much if any close critique.

Hitchens brings to bear very specific criticisms of a few of Mother Teresa’s doctrinal and political views that should make any decent person uncomfortable as well as larger, more philosophical criticisms. Chief among these is a dismantling of the narrative that Mother Teresa did terribly much for the poor and sick, but actually celebrated these tragedies as blessings from God to be spiritually cherished–a searing hypocrisy for a woman who, Hitchens notes, was quick to take herself into the comfortable and expensive clinics of the world when falling ill herself. After finishing this slim but thorough thrashing, it’s hard to think of Mother Teresa as worthy of attention or applause, much less sainthood.

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